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Killeen Holds Urgent Meeting with EU Fisheries Commissioner to Demand a Fair Deal for Irish Fishermen in Difficult EU/Norway Negotiations being held this week

Tony Killeen TD Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food today met EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Berg on EU / Norway Fisheries negotiations. Minister Killeen sought an urgent meeting when it became clear last Friday that developments at the formal EU / Norway negotiations which were taking place in Brussels were likely to seriously impact on Ireland.

At these negotiations transfers to Norway which would involve quota reductions for Ireland of 2,500 tonnes of horse mackerel and 2,000 tonnes of mackerel are under examination at the negotiations. 

The transfer of EU stocks of mackerel and horse mackerel is being pushed by a group of Member States including Spain and Portugal. These Member States benefit from access to Artic cod stocks in Norwegian waters which must be paid for with transfers of EU fish quotas to Norway.

Minister Killeen said "As soon as it became clear to me that the deal on the table in the EU / Norway negotiations would involve a substantial loss of fish quotas for Irish fishermen and fish factories I immediately sought an urgent meeting. I set down for Commissioner Borg the impacts of the planned deal on those Irish fishermen and fish factories who are dependent on mackerel and horse mackerel for their livelihoods. These stocks are the mainstay of the Donegal pelagic fishing fleet and are also important for the south west fishing fleet and for fish factories on the western seaboard. I explained that the deal on the table would mean that Irish fishermen would be paying in lost fishing quotas for the extra cod quotas for a range of Member States including Spain and Portugal. I pointed out that a deal agreed on this basis would be completely unacceptable to Ireland and would not be justified."

Commissioner Borg agreed to make urgent contact with his negotiators in Bergen and to explain the points raised. He undertook to request them to consider other options to pay for the artic cod transferred to the EU with a view to seeking a more equitable arrangement for Ireland.

Note for Editors

The EU/ Norway fisheries negotiations are commencing a final session in Bergen, Norway today 7th December, and are likely to conclude this week.

Date Released: 07 December 2009